Southern Baptist Convention

WHEREAS, The first amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America clearly states that the Congress shall pass no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion, and

WHEREAS, The same first amendment protects us against the establishment of religion, and

WHEREAS, A constitutional amendment is pending wherein there is no violation of either of those ideals inherent in the separation of church and state, and

WHEREAS, This proposed amendment neither requires nor restricts the vocal expression of individual or group prayer in public schools, and

WHEREAS, Considerable confusion as to the rights and privileges guaranteed by the Constitution with regard to prayer in schools has been engendered by the Supreme Court decisions of 1962 and 1963, and

WHEREAS, Public school officials and lower courts have frequently misinterpreted these Supreme Court decisions as a ban on voluntary prayer, and

WHEREAS, For 170 years following the writing of the First Amendment, the right of prayer in public schools was a time-honored exercise and a cherished privilege, and

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists historically have affirmed the right of voluntary prayer in public places, and

WHEREAS, The proposed constitutional amendment reads simply, "Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to prohibit individual or group prayer in public schools or other public institutions. No person shall be required by the United States or by any state to participate in prayer," and

WHEREAS, This proposed amendment does not constitute a call for government-written or government-mandated prayer.

Therefore, be it RESOLVED, That we the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention is session, June 1982, New Orleans, Louisiana, declare our support of the aforementioned proposed constitutional amendment.

Be it further RESOLVED, That we shall work continually to hold fast to our faith and to the freedoms in which we believe and by which we live.


View all 1982 Resolutions.